Rides from the Readers: 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured car is a 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk owned by 20-year-old Jake R. Kaywell, whose love for classic automobiles was sparked by a fire-engine red 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk. III. Its owner would take young Jake along for rides for the sheer enjoyment of driving, and the experience imprinted itself on Kaywell’s mind: “To hear the raspy roar of that 3.0-liter straight-six engine backed up by a chunky four-speed was nothing short of glorious.”
Inspired, Kaywell began saving every penny he earned. He worked summer jobs and embarked upon independent business ventures such as selling Valentine’s Day cards when he was 11. By the time he was 16, Kaywell had $10,000 to his name. His father, an enthusiastic support of his son’s automotive fervor, also pitched in. During many late nights spent on the internet, Kaywell educated himself on basic car maintenance and automotive history, eventually settling on the “independent” camp—American companies that survived WWII but were not affiliated with any of the Big Three. Kaywell determined to find a Studebaker, attracted by the marque’s reputation for thoughtful engineering, solid build quality, and avant-garde styling.
The car that Kaywell eventually bought, however, didn’t wear the most cutting-edge sheetmetal to emerge from the Studebaker factory. Essentially identical, on the outside, to the ’53 Loewy coupe, Kaywell’s ’62 GT Hawk wears an upright grille and narrow proportions that look dated—even for the ’60s. “I certainly don’t mind,” writes Kaywell. “It looks and feels like a blend between European and American design philosophies, which I believe makes for a better car.”
This particular Hawk, s/n 3295, boasts the larger 289-cu-in V-8 mated—per the specifications of one Helen Potter, of Sacramento, California—to a Borg-Warner four-speed manual. Ms. Potter also ordered air conditioning and the Twin Traction limited-slip diff but, mysteriously, did not opt for power steering or power brakes. “Good heavens, Helen, what were you thinking?” writes Kaywell.
Kaywell has no intention of ever selling “Daisy Mae.” “Driving her and telling her story is important not just for myself but also for everyone I meet,” he writes, “so that they too can experience a lovely stop on a less-traveled path.”